(Last Updated on : 19/09/2018)
Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary is also known as Narayan Sarovar Wildlife Sanctuary or Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary. This unique eco-system is located near Narayan Sarovar in the Lakhpat Taluka of Kutch district
in Gujarat. The desert forest in this sanctuary is said to be the only one of its kind in India. Located in the arid zone, a part of the sanctuary is a seasonal wetland. The sanctuary spreads over an area of 444 sq. km.
The main reason behind its popularity is the wonderful combination of picturesque surroundings and a rich variety of flora and fauna species. Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary has 15 threatened wildlife species and also has desert thorn and scrub forests that are dotted with several seasonal water bodies and grassy patches. The most sighted animal of this sanctuary is the Chinkara
, which is currently the flagship species of the sanctuary.
Geography of Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
Narayan Sarovar sanctuary is demarcated by the Kori creek
on the northwest and Mangrove
forest on the west. While the northwest and western part exhibit a flat topography towards the sea shore, the northeastern part has wavy topography of minor hill ranges. The elevation of the sanctuary near the coast is 2.7 meters above mean sea level. In the hill section it is 157 meters at Manijal hill in Kaniyaro Rakhal. The rivers and streams flowing through the sanctuary are small and ephemeral in nature as rainfall is very scanty and erratic in this region. A large portion of the sanctuary exhibits the edaphic climax of tropical thorn forest, where the tree height averages from 3 to 5 meters.
Flora in Narayan Sarovar sanctuary
The plant species like Gorad and Babul are predominant in the sanctuary. While, Babul
dominates the western zone having lime stone formation; the Gorad dominates the eastern zone that covers extensive area. The sanctuary provides shelter to about 252 species of flowering plants, including Desi Baval, Gorad, Hermo, Ber, Pilu, Thor, Gando Baval, Gugal, Salai, Ingorio, Kerdo, Carissa, etc.
Fauna in Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
The Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary provides natural habitat to several mammal fauna species, out of which, the Chinkara or Indian Gazelle is undoubtedly the most important one. The species like Chinkara, Blue Bull are the predominant mammal fauna species in the sanctuary. The other species include Spotted-Deer
, Wild Boar
, Caracal, Desert Fox, Hyena
, Desert Cat, Porcupine
, Rattle, Indian Pangolin
, Hare, etc. A rich variety of smaller mammals are also found in the sanctuary. The sanctuary is home to 18 species of amphibians and reptiles, as well.
Avifauna of Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
The avifauna in the Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary is also quite rich with 184 bird species residing here. The bird species include a few endangered and threatened species and also include 19 species of Raptors. Three species of Bustards reside in the sanctuary, namely the Great Indian Bustard
, Houbara Bustard and Lesser Florican
. A typical bird of desert habitat, named the Black Partridge, and other important species like Harriers
, Common Cranes
, etc. are also found in the sanctuary.
Reintroduction of Cheetah
Wildlife Institute of India or WII has identified the sanctuary as one of the last remaining habitats of the Cheetah
in India and a possible reintroduction site for the species. Asiatic Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) that are sighted here are now extinct in India. Thus Cheetah experts from around the world have advised India to import and introduce the Cheetah from Africa, as genetically it is identical to the ones found in Asia. But recently it has been discovered that Asiatic Cheetahs are genetically distinct and have been separated from the South African Cheetahs (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus) between 32,000 and 67,000 years ago.
Tourism in Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
Besides being a preserver and protector of the Chinkara or Indian Gazelle and other wildlife species, the Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary is also famous as a favourite tourist destination. Many tourists from different parts of India and around the world visit the sanctuary on a regular basis, to experience the great variety of wildlife.
Visiting Information to Narayan Sarovar Sanctuary
The climatic conditions of the sanctuary remain at its best during the months of September and January and hence, this period is considered the best time to visit the Narayan Sarovar Chinkara Sanctuary. The nearest airport to the sanctuary is in Bhuj
, which is 210 km from the place. Nearest railway station is also in Bhuj (210 km). Another way to reach there is by bus via Dayapar.